NEW YORK (Sep. 7)
The 73rd annual national convention of the Zionist Organization of America will remain imbedded in the minds of the 1000 delegates who attended the four-day conclave. The final sessions yesterday took place against the backdrop of Israel’s announcement that it would withdraw from the peace talks at the United Nations and the terrorist hijackings of four airliners, including an E1 A1 airliner, over various parts of Europe with more than 600 passengers and crewmen on the four airliners. Israel’s ambassador to the United States Yitzhak Rabin, condemned the hijackings and told the ZOA dinner last night honoring outgoing president Jacques Torczyner: “I feel duty bound to say that what has happened today is the result of the past tolerance and outright refusal of certain governments and international agencies to treat these people as the criminals they are. It is the result of surrender to their blackmail when murderers are allowed to go free to be received as heroes in Arab capitals.” It was only last month that the Greek government released seven Arab terrorists who had been convicted for terrorist activities in Greece against Israeli citizens and property after six other Arab terrorists seized an Olympic Boeing 727 and held its 53 passengers and crew as hostages. Gen. Rabin told the delegates that “the time has come for drastic action to be taken against the terrorists and against the Arab governments which arm them and which hold innocent travellers as hostages.” He declared that Israel will not stand idly by but would safeguard its air routes “on the basis of reciprocity.”
Gen. Rabin warned that the alternative to halting “this lawlessness and air piracy” is the continuing “murder of innocent people and literal chaos in the skies.” He urged all governments and international agencies and bodies concerned with freedom of the skies to “act for the immediate release of all the passengers, the aircraft and the crews. They are called upon to take forceful and effective measures to guarantee an end to this criminal piracy whenever it occurs, and to ensure that those responsible be brought to justice.” Focusing on the cease-fire violations by the Egyptians and Soviets, Gen. Rabin told the dinner guests that “by duplicity, by double talk and by sheer conspiracy, the Egyptians and the Soviets have tried to hoodwink the authors of the peace initiative and place Israel in a position of political and military retreat.” He said that it reminded one of the “Russian duplicity and outright lies at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.” Gen. Rabin declared: “All along, the Egyptian-Soviet strategy has been to build up their military strength in the hope of intimidating Israel and the West. They have sought now to exploit the cease-fire agreement for this very goal in an effort to confront Israel with an ultimatum: either we surrender to their terms and allow ourselves to be dismembered and truncated, or face the prospect of a military avalanche backed and abetted by the Soviet Union.” Gen. Rabin declared that the peace talks were conceived by the U.S. government “as a corridor to peace, not as an instrument for intimidation and blackmail. The cease-fire standstill agreement was designed to nourish mutual confidence as a background to the talks, not as a cover for military conspiracy.”
ROCKEFELLER, GOLDBERG URGE IMMEDIATE AID TO ISRAEL; WEISMAN ELECTED NEW ZOA HEAD
At the banquet, Congressman Ogden R. Reid. Republican of Westchester, N.Y. and former ambassador to Israel, called on President Nixon to initiate direct personal communication with Soviet Communist Party leader Alexsei Kosygin and Premier Leonid Brezhnev over the Middle East situation. Earlier in the convention, New York’s Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller called upon the U.S. to see to it that the Egyptian government “immediately withdraws” the missiles and other military equipment moved into the 32-mile cease-fire zone. He also called on the U.S. to supply Israel immediately with planes and other essential military equipment Israel needs to defend herself against the threat posed by the missiles’ deployment. The governor, who was interrupted numerous times by thunderous applause, said: “Israel has observed the cease-fire terms, she has negotiated in good faith. We cannot allow Israel to become a victim of superior military might. We must make it clear beyond any doubt that our commitment to Israel will endure.” Governor Rockefeller declared that “Only because she had faith in America did Israel agree to the terms under which negotiations would be conducted. Now it is for us. the American people, to prove that faith was justified.” The governor noted that despite the Soviet Union’s objectives of domination and expansion in the Mideast there is still a possibility that the two major powers could work together to resolve the crisis in that area. “The United States and the Soviet Union must work now for peace in the Middle East and throughout the world,” he declared.
Arthur J. Goldberg, Democratic-Liberal candidate for New York governor, told the delegates that the survival of Israel is vital to the best interests of the U.S. Declaring that all Americans fervently hope for a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Arab states that will bring a just and lasting peace, Mr. Goldberg added: “A prerequisite to such a peace is for the United States to make it explicitly clear to the Soviet Union that in our own national interest we will not permit another Czechoslovakian tragedy to engulf Israel.” He urged that the U.S. give Israel arms and planes it needs to preserve the military balance and demand the cease-fire be scrupulously observed “by the Soviets and their Arab clients.” Mr. Goldberg declared: “We ought to stop vacillating.” Herman L. Weisman, a New York attorney, was unanimously elected ZOA president to succeed Mr. Torczyner. Mr. Weisman, presently the president of the Jewish National Fund and who was national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal in 1948-49, called upon the Nixon administration to exercise its influence to gain the removal of Soviet missile sites from the Suez Canal zone. He told the delegates that “only the strong influence of President Nixon can effect the removal of roadblocks to peace negotiations which have been paralyzed by the pernicious and flagrant scrapping of the basic terms of the cease-fire.” In a telegram to Mr. Torczyner, Pres. Nixon stated: “We must recognize that a step away from war toward the threshold of peace is one step closer to the kind of world we want. No one has ever said that the task of achieving a durable peace is simple or that one simple solution could end a history of hostility in a moment.” In other action, the delegates denounced what was termed as “the thinly masked Soviet anti-Semitism which, under the guise of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist propaganda, engages in and encourages overt acts of discrimination.” The delegates called upon the free world, including the U.S., to ask the Soviet Union to allow Jews the “right of free emigration.”